Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/87

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AGNOSTICISM.

bad evidence, it does not follow that it is proper to act on such evidence when the pressure is absent." Certainly not; but it is strange ignorance of human nature for Prof. Huxley to imagine that there is no "pressure" in this matter. It was a voice which understood the human heart better which said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"; and the attraction of that voice outweighs many a critical difficulty under the pressure of the burdens and the sins of life.

Prof. Huxley, indeed, admits, in one sentence of his article, the force of this influence on individuals.

If (he says) a man can find a friend, the hypostasis of all his hopes, the mirror of his ethical ideal, in the pages of any, or of all, of the Gospels, let him live by faith in that ideal. Who shall, or can, forbid him? But let him not delude himself with the notion that his faith is evidence of the objective reality of that in which he trust?. Such evidence is to be obtained only by the use of the methods of science, as applied to history and to literature, and it amounts at present to very little.

Well, a single man's belief in an ideal may be very little evidence of its objective reality. But the conviction of millions of men, generation after generation, of the veracity of the four evangelical witnesses, and of the human and divine reality of the figure they describe, has at least something of the weight of the verdict of a jury. Securus judicat orbis terrarum. Practically the figure of Christ lives. The Gospels have created it; and it subsists as a personal fact in life, alike among believers and unbelievers. Prof. Huxley himself, in spite of all his skepticism, appears to have his own type of this character. The apologue of the woman taken in adultery might, he says, "if internal evidence were an infallible guide, well be affirmed to be a typical example of the teachings of Jesus." Internal evidence may not be an infallible guide; but it certainly carries great weight, and no one has relied more upon it in these questions than the critics whom Prof. Huxley quotes.

But as I should be sorry to imitate Prof. Huxley, on so momentous a subject, by evading the arguments and facts he alleges, I will consider the question of external evidence on which he dwells. I must repeat that the argument of my paper is independent of this controversy. The fact that our Lord taught and believed what agnostics ignore is not dependent on the criticism of the four Gospels. In addition to the general evidence to which I have alluded, there is a further consideration which Prof. Huxley feels it necessary to mention, but which he evades by an extraordinary inconsequence. He alleges that the story of the Gadarene swine involves fabulous matter, and that this discredits the trustworthiness of the whole Gospel record. But he says: